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Rope making machine or Strand Former

Date: 1800s
Overall: 310 x 330 x 780 mm
Medium: Wood, metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Ian Kiernan
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Rope maker
Object No: 00048271

User Terms

    Rope Winder or Strand Former, circa late nineteenth century.
    SignificanceThis is an excellent and rare example of what was once a common item in dockyards and aboard sailing ships.
    HistoryThe rope winder, more correctly called a strand former, was an important item for many years of the 18th-20th centuries. Large sailing vessels required around 30-40 kilometres of rope.

    The three 'twisting hooks' each take a strand, and the handle turns the gear system that winds the strands into a single rope.

    A three strand laid rope from a machine such as this is called a plain or hawser-laid rope.

    Large strand-formers were used in dockyards with extensive 'rope walks' - or long avenues the rope could be laid out in. This strand-former appears to have been built from other components, and may have been used aboard ships where a portable device could be used to re-wind worn or damaged rope. The expression 'spinning a yarn' came from sailors and talking as they sat around and plucked and recovered the yarn which was then spun into new rope, as well as the expression 'money for old rope'.

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